Villagers staging a dharna against mining activities were lathi charged and forcefully removed by police from Rajasthan’s Sikar district, officials said today.

“We had to use force to remove them from Neem Ka Thana area yesterday where they were squatted demanding action against mining activities. They had pelted stones at police prompting us to use force,” SP Sikar Girraj Lal Meena said today.

“We arrested 12 persons including six women. Additional forces have been deployed in the area and we are making efforts to solve the issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, the agitators alleged in Jaipur today that the district administration and police were working under the influence of the mining lobby.

“We have been peacefully staging our dharna since April 5 against mining in the area. A large number of villagers were sitting in a pasture land which was being used for mining activities.

“In land records, it is purely a pasture land but mining lobby is using this as their way leaving no area for our cattle to feed,” Kailash Meena, who was leading the agitation, claimed at a press conference here today.

Mr. Meena said the protesters met senior officials here demanding action against illegal mining and protection of land.

“The authorities instead of checking illegal activities took action against innocent villagers who were raising their voice for justice,” he said, adding that two villagers received injuries in the lathi charge.